Just like last year, this is a best case scenario draft. While it is unlikely that all of the players that I have selected will be available when they are selected in this mock it is at least possible. In fact if I have made the pick I’ve at least seen this player available in a different “expert’s” rankings and or mock at the position they’ve been selected. Finally, I won’t be projecting trades. Ted Thompson stood pat and drafted in the spot he was slotted with every pick last season and it seemed to work out just fine for him.
1st round (30)- Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
Analysis: Some might argue that cornerback, specifically outside cornerback is the top need for the Packers. Davon House and Tramon Williams have both left the team, which would appear to leave the Packers with Sam Shields, two good slot corners (Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward) and unproven perimeter athletes Tay Glover-Wright and Demetri Goodson. The thing is, I like the 2nd and 3rd round corners about as much as I like the 1st round corners and I love how Kendricks fits the Packers. THere isn’t anything Kendricks doesn’t do well and the difference between his cover ability and what the Packers have had at inside linebacker since the switch to the 3-4. Thompson loves to cultivate talent from the Pac 12.
NFL comp: Kiko Alonso, Eagles
2nd round (62)- PJ Williams, CB, Florida St.
Analysis: Williams is one of the corners that I feel are in the same class. All a bunch of guys that I’d trust as an outside starter but that I wouldn’t expect to make a ton of plays. The reason I feel like Green Bay can wait on corner is because of how many of them I think are about just as good as the other. Williams was towards the top of those rankings before his DUI arrest. That arrest should drop the 6’0″ Williams into the second round. His size, along with his impressive vertical leap (40″) make him an ideal corner to matchup with Calvin Johnson and Alshon Jeffrey in the NFC North. His plus tackling ability should help improve the run defense too.
NFL comp: Jason McCourty, Titans
3rd round (94)- Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
Analysis: The Packers have been able to build a fantastic offensive line just at the same time that they have been able to draft an elite running back. Eddie Lacy just might end up being the odd man out in the long line of Packers stars that are coming up for contracts after there 2016 NFL season. Most NFL teams would keep an elite offensive line together and just draft a young, cheap running back. James Starks is gone after the 2015 season. The Packers also need help returning kicks and someone running designed routes out of the backfield. They might also need an Eddie Lacy replacement in not-so-distant future.
NFL comp: Gio Bernard, Bengals
4th round (129)- Nick O’Leary, TE, Florida State
Analysis: Weirdly enough, this is the KUUUUUUUUUHN replacement for the future. O’Leary brings a lot of versatility and skill to the table, even if he doesn’t appear to be an elite athlete. Moving forward, O’Leary and Richard Rodgers could team to provide any combination of twin tight ends, tight end/fullback, tight end/big slot that McCarthy, Clements and Rodgers could cook up. O’Leary can line up all over the field and reminds me quite a bit of Dallas Clark. He’s a good football player and poor workout numbers will cause him to fall further than he should.
NFL comp: Dallas Clark, Colts
5th round (166)- Ellis McCarthy, NT, UCLA
Analysis: This guy is a lightning rod. I’ve seen him mocked in the second round and I’ve seen him mocked in the 7th. McCarthy is a major conference player that had limited production. He was a 5 star recruit, but could never get it going. He possesses an elite combination of size and athleticism, checking in at 6’5″ and 340 pounds. Hopefully the leadership of coach Trgovac, Julius Peppers and his ex-teammate Datone Jones would be helpful. If they can get his switch to flip “on”, he’ll be a steal in the 5th round.
NFL comp: Quinton Dial, 49ers
6th round (206)- Jake Ryan, ILB, Michigan
Analysis: The Packers might want to take multiple shots at their inside linebacker position during this year’s draft, very similarly to the way that they attacked the running back position in 2013. Jake Ryan is by far my favorite late round inside linebacker prospect. I think he projects immediately as an elite special teamer and an eventual usable player on defense. His ability to cover is underrated and playing for some bad Michigan defenses might have caused his stock to drop further than it should have. Adding two guys like Kendricks and Ryan would really go a long way towards making me feel better about the defense, present and future.
NFL comp: Michael Wilhoite, 49ers
6th round (210)- Nick Marshall, DB, Auburn
Analysis: Thompson loves to take flyers late and there’s nothing quite like a former quarterback like Nick Marshall trying to make it as a defensive back as a flyer. Thompson loves ex-Qbs. Nick Collins, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are all guys who used to be signal callers that are sure-fire Packers Hall of Famers. Marshall is going to try and make it at cornerback, but I would like to see a guy who’s 6’1″ 210 with his speed and his intelligence give free safety a shot. Marshall’s a smart athlete and you can never have too many of those on your football team.
NFL comp: Dontae Johnson, 49ers
6th round (213)- Kyle Emanuel, OLB, North Dakota State
Kyle Emanuel won the Buck Buchanan award as the FCS’ best defensive player. He had an incredible 19 sacks and 32.5 tackles for loss as a senior. His athletic numbers are more than adequate: 6’3″ 250 4.77 40, 34″ vert and 27 bench reps. The question as always with FCS talent is the competition that he faced. In 4 career games against FBS opponents (Minnesota, Colorado State, Kansas State, Iowa State) Emanuel started all 4 contests and recorded 5 sacks. Emanuel played defensive end in college but won’t do that in the pros. He’s a high effort guy who will immediately improve the special teams and could make an impact rushing the passer.
NFL comp: Rob Ninkovich, Patriots
7th round (247)- Andrew Donnal, OT, Iowa
Analysis: Even the way the offensive line currently sits (very, very good) Thompson still hasn’t gone through a complete draft without selecting at least one defensive lineman and at least one offensive lineman. He likes going to the University of Iowa to find NFL talent and Andrew Donnal could be the next in that line. He’s a tall lean tackle that could back up all 4 positions that aren’t center if he adds a little weight.